Munich 2013

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Michael Lavorgna  |  May 15, 2013
Everything But The Box makes passive speakers that are not in a box and are all playful-looking for it. Pictured from left to right are the Terra II (€1,799/pair), Terra MK3 (€1,999/pair), Venus D (€999/pair), Pluto (€1,999/pair), and Luna (€999/pair) in red/orange and green. You can just see the top of the Subterranean powered subwoofer (€2,999 w/250W amp or €3,599 w/250W + 2x 100W amps) on the floor on the left.
Michael Lavorgna  |  May 15, 2013
New Zealand-based Plinius was showing their Toko Digital Audio Player (€5,000). The DLNA-compatible Toko can handle up to 24/192 data in FLAC (up to 24/192), LPCM (up to 24/192), AIFF, and MP3 formats and there's one 10/100 Ethernet input and pairs of RCA and XLR outputs. There's also an old-fashioned disc spinner for those CDs that are in a pre-ripped state. the Toko is designed to be used Plinius' iPad-based Arataki DLNA compatible mobile media controller.
Michael Lavorgna  |  May 15, 2013
the full text across the top reads, "The Power of Clocking"

Antelope Audio was showing their Rubicon Atomic AD/DA Preamp ($40,000) that offers up to 384kHz playback via its USB input, DLNA streaming via Ethernet, 1 Phono Input on RCA, 3 RCA, 1 HiZ Input on RCA, 1 Combo Balanced Input on XLR/¼ TRS, 2 S/PDIF, 2 TOSLINK, 1 AES/EBU, and Word Clock Input. Outputs include 1 Balanced XLR, 1 Unbalanced RCA, 2 S/PDIF De-jittered outputs, and Hi-Speed USB on standard B type connector.

That Atomic Clock in the Rubicon is, according to Antelope Audio, a jitter Terminator, "Rubicon is the first DAC to integrate a Rubidium atomic clock, which is 100,000 times more stable than a traditional crystal oscillator. Coupled with Antelope’s 64-bit Acoustically Focused Clocking technology, the Rubidium achieves a breakthrough in jitter management, improving the sound quality in an unprecedented way."

Michael Lavorgna  |  May 15, 2013
France-based HD music download site Qobuz, one of my favorites, was on hand in Munich and while passing by their booth I heard the word "DSD" spoken. While I cannot confirm or deny this rumor, I wouldn't be surprised to see the major HD download sites offering up DSD titles in the near future.
Michael Lavorgna  |  May 15, 2013
Chord was displaying their Coupé Carry storage system that stacks and packs your choice of components from their Chordette range of products. I'd think I'd be tempted to pick the MX Series IX streamer, MX Series SX amplifier, and the DSD-capable Chordette QuteHD DAC (see review) which I thoroughly enjoyed. Careful readers will note that the Coupé Carry fits our "simplification" trendspotting nicely.
Michael Lavorgna  |  May 15, 2013
Pioneer was showing a number of components and mini and micro systems offering a mix of features including streaming capabilities, 24/192 and DSD-capable DACs, AirPlay compatibility, iPhone/iPad connectivity, and more, with many components coupling these features with integrated amplifiers. Pictured above is the X-HM81 Micro Hi-Fi System (€599) that delivers 2x 50W of Class D output power combined with AirPlay, DLNA/UPnP (Ethernet and Wi-Fi), an iPod/iPhone dock, up to 24/192 playback of MP3, WMA, WAV, FLAC, and AAC files, a free Smartphone app, and a USB input for mass storage devices.
Michael Lavorgna  |  May 15, 2013
Swiss company Revox had a room full of small brightly colored and beautifully minimally-designed wonders. Pictured above is the Revox Joy (great name!) S118 Network Receiver (€990). The Joy line includes three models that differ in output power ranging from the S118's 2x 25Watts, to the S119's 2x 60Watts, up to the S120's 2x 120Watts. The DLNA/UPnP compatible Joy Network Receivers all offer Ethernet, Wi-Fi, USB, Toslink, and Coax S/PDIF inputs and handle up to 24/192 data. Supported file formats include AAC, AIFF, FLAC, WAV, WMA, OGG, and MP3. There's a Revox S208 remote as well as a control app for iOS devices. You can even pick from a host of matching speakers like the desktop friendly Re:Sound G mini pictured above.
Michael Lavorgna  |  May 15, 2013
Wholly home? theater! by McIntosh.
Michael Lavorgna  |  May 15, 2013
Wadia's Intuition 01 was on silent display (rats!) but looking as sleek as ever. The Intuition marries a 350W/ch amplifier, preamplifier, and 32/384kHz and native DSD playback (via USB) that employs the ESS 9018 SabreDAC. There are a total of 7 inputs including the usual digital suspects (1x USB, 1x Toslink, 2x Wadialink/I2S, 1x AES/EBU, 2x Coax S/PDIF) as well as 2 analog inputs. The Intuition upsamples all incoming PCM data to 1.536 MHz using the Wadia Delta-SigMaster FIR 32-bit upsampling algorithm and counts as another entry in our "Simplification" trendspotting lineup.
Michael Lavorgna  |  May 14, 2013
The B.M.C. PureDAC ($1,600) that was first spotted at CES on silent display and will be shipping in June. The PureDAC is more than a DAC, adding a balanced preamplifier and balanced headphone amplifier while offering asynchronous USB, AES/EBU, Toslink, and Coax S/PDIF inputs, and balanced and single-ended outputs. The PureDAC can handle up to 384kHz PCM data as well as DSD, it includes a nice aluminum remote, and as you see from its mug shot is very nicely put together. All for 1600 smackers. Nice.
Michael Lavorgna  |  May 14, 2013
The Beast, "Der ultimative HighEnd Server", from ReQuest Audio of Switzerland is a music server and I must have lost the accompanying data sheet in my travels and have no other information besides "Coming Soon" on their website. Dammit! I do recall that ReQuest worked with MSB Technology and The Beast was on display in the MSB room. If I turn up more info, I'll update this pitiful post.
Michael Lavorgna  |  May 14, 2013
MSB Technology was pulling out all the stops with a stack of multicolored Analog DACs that Steve Plaskin recently reviewed (in just one color) very favorably. I'll be doing a follow-up review and the review sample Analog DAC is already here rarin' to go. If you're wondering why the follow-up, the reason is simple—interest. I wanted to hear the Analog DAC for myself after being repeatedly impressed at various hi-fi shows.
Michael Lavorgna  |  May 14, 2013
I was very happy to see and hear the Auralic Vega Digital Audio Processor ($3,500) that I so thoroughly enjoyed (see review) and continue to enjoy. The Vega was coupled with Auralic's Taurus preamplifier ($2,099) and two pair of Merak 400W monoblock amplifiers ($4,995/pair) driving a pair of YG Acoustics Sonja™ 1.2 speakers ($72,800/pair). All together, this system produced a clean, clear, and powerful musical portrait.
Michael Lavorgna  |  May 14, 2013
So often in Hi-Fi it’s as if we have no memory. Its as if we’re led around by the nose solely with whiffs of the latest and greatest (blame reviewers, I know). But there are companies and products out there that remind us of things past and Silbatone Acoustics (visit their website for a history lesson) is a champion among suchlike. For Munich 2013, Mr. Chung & Co. brought in a pair of Western Electric Mirrophonic theater speakers from 1936 and this room and this system not only reminds us of our shared hi-fi heritage, but it also serves to illustrate that progress in hi-fi is not always linear.
Michael Lavorgna  |  May 14, 2013
The active display in the Amphion consisted of a simple €10k setup featuring the Amphion Two15 professional monitors (€1500/each), Lindell Audio AmpX ($1,599.99), and the Antelope Audio Zodiac+ DAC/Preamp ($2,695). The desktop/near field (trendspotting again) strikes me as the new hi-fi frontier mainly because so many of us spend so much time in front of a computer monitor with terabyte-busting music collections of increasing quality. With speakers and systems like this Amphion-based rig, you can get exceptional near field performance without busting your bank account.

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